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Using the skeletal formula which is also known as line-angle formula, Acetic acid, the active component of vinegar, can be created using paper and wire. It is an excellent way to represent the bonding and structure of a molecule. It can be done in fun colors for those who wish to use it as decoration, or it can be color coded for classroom purposes.

Step 1: Needed Materials and Other Notes

Needed Materials:

  • scrap booking paper, construction paper, or card stock
  • Fiskars squeeze punch in small circle(see other notes for more information)
  • a pencil
  • a ruler
  • 24 ga. wire
  • wire cutters
  • barrel nose or needle nose pliers
  • bend nose pliers
  • hot glue

Other Notes:

  • Fiskars squeeze punches can be found on their website. Alternatively, you could simply draw out the shapes and cut them out yourself (which I go into more detail in a later step). If you have a cricket and a cartridge that you can use to cut out the needed shapes, that will work just as well and save you some time. I do not know which cartridge you could find those shapes on.
  • If children are assisting in this project, ensure that they are supervised at all times as wire, pliers, and hot glue can be dangerous. I would suggest that any children that may be helping you are at least 10.

Step 2: Making the Needed Base Shapes

  • There are two different structures for Acetic acid, and this instructable will be lay out how to make both of them

Simpler Formula:

  • The more simple form of Acetic acid posses one Oxygen atom and one Hydroxide atom, which are represented with small circles. Using your circle punch, cut out foud circles. If you do not possess such a punch, use a compass to draw a circle with a radius of half inch.
  • On two circles, write a capitol "O" to represent oxygen and on the other a "OH" to represent the hydroxide.
  • I used fun scrap book paper, as this project is more for decoration than anything else.

Complex Formula:

  • The more complex form has four hydrogen atoms, two oxygen atoms, and two carbon atoms.
  • For the more complex formula, cut out sixteen circles.
  • Label eight with an "H" for hydrogen, four with "O" for oxygen, and four with "C" for carbon.


Step 3: Creating the Bonds of the Simple Structure

  1. Heat up the hot glue gun.
  2. Cut a piece of wire four centimeters long and form a loop. to create the loop, hold the wire about a centimeter and half down from one side of the wire using your barrel of needle nosed pliers. Using either your fingers or you curved nose pliers, fold the wire in half over the wire. Keeping the wire held in the pliers, use the other pair to twist to tight loops in it. There is an awesome video explaining this process here. Skip a centimeter and repeat the process, so there is now a loop at each end.
  3. Now to make the wire loop that will connect the "atom". Cut a piece of wire 14 and 1/2 centimeters long. Bend the wire so that it is the same basic shape as your atom, leaving a centimeter tail on one end. If needed, pull the shorter end away from the main circle a bit and slide on the piece of wire that you made earlier. Place the tail back in its original position. Hold the intersection with your needle of barrel nose pliers and twist two loops at the base with the curved wire.
  4. Half a centimeter left from the base of the circle, place a small drop of hot glue. Slide the smaller piece over it, holding it for a few seconds to secure.
  5. On the back side of your paper, run thin lines of glue around the outside border of one of the O circles. Press the wire base into them and hold to secure. If you mess up, the glue will pull back easily after a few seconds, at least with scrap booking paper.
  6. With the long tail that was left over, bend it crisply at the same point point where the second bond wire stopped. Thread the wire through the bottom loop of the wire, pulling all of the wire threw. Taking a pair of pliers, grasp a little to the left of the wire section between the two bonds and pinch the loop section with your fingers. Pull up gently on the wire with your pliers hand, letting a little wire through the loop if need be. You should be left with an angle similar to the one in the picture.
  7. Cut a piece of wire thirteen centimeters long, and repeat step 3, save the part where you thread on the smaller bond wire.
  8. Using pliers, hold the excess wire a centimeter up from the base loop and insert it in the bend made by crease of the other bond wire. Loop it around the crease and secure it with three smaller loops.
  9. Twist it to the proper position shown below and secure with a dot of hot glue on the back side.
  10. Repeat step five.
  11. Run hot glue over the wire and press the coordinating circle against it to hide the hot glue on the inside.

H C

| //

H-C-C or use this url (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Acetic-acid-2D-flat.png) I would link it, but

| \ instructables is not allowing me to do so.

H O-H

Step 4: Creating the Bonds of the Complex Structure

  1. Cut a piece of wire twenty four centimeters long. Outline a circle with the wire and secure it by twisting several loops on the base as explained earlier. Skip a centimeter on the excess wire and repeat the step
  2. 10.14 Cut a piece of wire eleven inches long. Loop and secure it to one of the two circles you made in the last step. Skip a centimeter and outline a circle. Loop and secure. Repeat.
  3. There are now basically four circles all connected together, two "loose" ones and one that is firmly secured. Position the firmly attached on straight up. Place a dot of hot glue at the nine 'o clock position on the lower circle and slide one of the loose circles up and over it. Hold in place for several seconds to secure. Place another dot at the six 'o clock position and attach the other circle.
  4. Cut a piece of wire 10 centimeters long. Loop and secure one end to the three o' clock postition on the lower circle that was worked on last step; secure with hot glue. Skip down a centimeter and form 3/4 circle. Bend the last section of wire in position shown above.
  5. Cut a piece of wire ten centimeters long and create a loop base on each end. On one end, skip up a centimeter and start making a circle outline, but do not complete it. Instead stop when there is only a centimeter of wire left and bend it so tail is parallel to the other. There will be about a centimeter of open space on the circle.
  6. Thread the piece you just made onto the base made in step four. Secure in position with hot glue according to the pictures above.
  7. Repeat step one.
  8. Using the last free end of the piece made in step four, loop and secure to one of the circles made in the previous step according to the pictures. Secure in place with hot glue.
  9. Place dots or lines of hot glue along the edge of a circle and press it against the wire circle indicating its position using the above picture as a guide. Run hot glue along its coordinating atom and press it on the other side. Repeat until all pieces are in their proper position.
<p>Your title is wrong, you only made a two dimentional acetic acid molecule. All the atoms can't be on the same plan.</p>
<p>Oh, thank you. I orginally had planned to do it differnetly, but I forgot to change the title. </p>
<p>Good instructable anyway !</p>
<p>Thorough documentation, thank you!</p>
<p>No, thank you very much for the taking the time to look through it.</p>

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Bio: Hello, friends! I spend a lot of time creating things, and I am here to share them with you. Most of the time I crochet ... More »
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